Project Background and justification
Afghanistan and Iran are two neighboring countries with significant strategic values for each other. Beside other strategic significance in their relations, Afghanistan and Iran have important people to people relationship. In recent decades, Iran has been a host country for millions of Afghan refugees. But despite the fact that Afghanistan and Iran share some important cultural and historical background and considering the fact that during the past decades more than three million Afghan refugees migrated to Iran and got familiar with societal and cultural aspect of Iran society, there is a negative perception lingering on mutual interaction between the two countries.
Governments’ behaviors and nation’s attitudes towards each other, are partly shaped by political and intellectual elites of each country. In this circumstances, assessing the Afghan elite’s perception about Iran could provide some insights for foreign policy apparatus of both countries to improve their policy making agendas and amend their approaches towards each other. The future of relations between Afghanistan and Iran depends on understanding the main factors behind the existing mistrust – especially negative perception of Afghan elites, in mutual relationship of respective countries.
Project Goal and Objectives
1- Analyzing and examining the Afghan elite’s perception about Iran.
2- Analyzing and examining the need for reviewing and revising the mutual relationship between Afghanistan and Iran.
3- Enhancing and betterment of the current state of affairs between the two countries.
Objectives of the project
1. Examining the patterns of negative approaches toward Iran by the Afghan elite.
2. Presenting possible solutions to existing problems shadowing the mutual relationship.
3. Offering recommendations to improve mutual relationship at diplomatic levels.
4. Publishing and distributing a scientific survey about the need and importance for mutual understanding between neighboring countries.
Project Outcome and results
1- Presenting a perspective to the main arguments of existing perception of Afghan elites about Iran.
2- Refining and strengthening the existing perception of the two counties about each other.
Beneficiaries and Stakeholders
Beneficiaries of this project can be categorized in two parts:
1- Specific beneficiaries: the results and findings of this survey can be used by foreign policy apparatus of both countries to improve their policy making agendas and amend their approaches towards each other.
2- General beneficiaries: the ordinary citizens of the two countries are all among the general beneficiaries of this project.
This research project attempts to analyze Afghan elite’s perception and sensitivities towards Iran. The assessment of Afghan elite’s perception about Iran will be analyzed through four aspects of security- political, religious, economic and social dimensions. To do so, a survey has been carried out in 10 provinces of Afghanistan. (Including Herat, Farah, Paktia, Qandahar, Jalalabad, Kabul, and Balkh, Jozjan, Bamian and Badakhshan provinces). A sample population of 730 individuals has been surveyed. This research project is a joint effort of Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies and Allameh Tabataba'i University of Tehran.